It's hard to believe that summer is already ending, but with kids heading back to school soon we have to admit that it's nearly over. With the end of summer comes an exciting time for many 18 year olds as they head off to college for the first time. If one of those teenagers is yours then in addition to how proud you are of them you'll probably be thinking about what this time means for your wallet. In addition to having to pay the hefty tuition and room and board prices you'll have to spend quite a bit of money on making sure they have everything they'll need to succeed. Here are three steps to make sure your preparations are cost effective:
The first step in preparing for college is to make a plan. Sit down with your teenager and make a list of everything you both think they will need. Have a look around your house to see if there's any items you already have that they could take with them. Then plan exactly what you'll need to get from each store you plan to go to. This will help save you time and money as you won't be wandering around unnecessary places.
Prepare for the Prices of Textbooks
A big step is to prepare yourself for the insane prices of textbooks. With some books easily costing upwards of $200 having to buy multiple for each class feels almost painful. Before you pay campus bookstore face value make sure to have a good look around. While it might not be a viable option for all of the books, check to see if you can get a good used copy or rent one for much cheaper from Amazon. Also check websites such as textbooks.com or Chegg as they usually have good deals for you to make use of. If you plan on renting because it seems cheaper upfront, remember that you won't be able to sell those books back at the end of the semester. Do the math, as it might work out cheaper to buy them and sell them on.
Strategize on Dorm Room Decor
Finally, getting your college student's dorm room to look exactly the way they want it could cost you quite a bit. They'll need the essential items such as a microwave, a fridge, and bed sheets, but they'll also probably want some more decorative items to really make them feel at home. If they have a roommate make sure you coordinate with them on who's bringing what item as they won't need two microwaves or two fridges. Next check around and see which stores are having sales on certain items. If you can find a good deal on a laptop or a TV, this would really help with your savings. Also make sure you ask friends if they have anything they could sell to you cheaply and check Craigslist to see if you can get a great deal on some used items. It's important to make sure your student is prepared, but it doesn't have to break your wallet.